The Woman Behind Her, by Anna Willett, is a haunting story of guilt, resolve, and facing one’s fears. I was reminded of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Tell-tale Heart. Jackie, a mousey, timid school teacher, faces the building terror of being investigated by the police after an abusive parent is found dead. Jackie is the last person to see her alive. Jackie’s tension and dread is palpable as she spirals into a state of fear and near-madness. It is a wonderfully written tale.
Then, the story takes a series of turns as the detectives investigating the case continue to search for the truth, as the situation becomes more complicated and more perilous. There is a bit of a false alley along the way, but the story moves along at a fast pace toward a satisfying conclusion. The book is exquisitely edited and while I have a few minor issues with the emphasis toward the end, and with the flashback sequences that seem unnecessary and perhaps give away a bit too much of the mystery, in the end this is a very satisfying and enjoyable read.
Willet is a skilled storyteller and this book is another well-crafted bit of psychological terror. Get a cup of tea and a warm blanket and be sure to leave the lights on.